ESPN chose 720p because of the "p," which stands for progressive scan technology. Progressive scan technology paints the picture on your television screen from top to bottom on a line-by-line basis&.as in lines 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, etc. Interlace technology, the "i" in 1080i, paints the picture on an every-other-line basis, first painting lines 1,3,5,7,9 and then a split second later painting lines 2,4,6,8 and 10. Your eyes then assemble the painting into one image.
Progressive scan technology produces better images for the fast moving orientation of sports television. Simply put, with 104 mph fastballs in baseball and 120 mph shots on goal in hockey, the line-by-line basis of progressive scan technology better captures the inherent fast action of sports. For ESPN, progressive scan technology makes perfect sense.
We note with interest that when consumers now shop for DVD devices which produce the best pictures, the industry standard for quality is "progressive scan DVD players." We believe that says a great deal about our selection of 720p.
However, it is important to note that 720p and 1080i are not mutually exclusive technologies. Unlike certain incompatibilities in industries like cellular telephone service, DVD's and other products dating back to VHS versus Betamax and 8-track audio tape versus cassettes, all television sets, set top boxes and tuners are required to accept a series of formats, in which 720p and 1080i are included. Therefore, no one is excluded, and consumers with sets that inherently create pictures with progressive scan technology will automatically be able to see programs that are produced in the interlace format and vice versa. Some will debate the quality of the technologies, but we believe both 720p and 1080i produce HDTV pictures of a quality far above what most consumers have experienced over the first 50 years of television. As such, all HDTV viewers win!